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About Me





Found 5 results

  1. [ATTACH=CONFIG]70[/ATTACH] New Project: The Pumpkin Suit's Handbook I know I've already got about three month's worth of new projects in the pipeline, but it's never too early to plan ahead for future releases, especially when you're putting together a whole gaming company solo. As the title suggests, This new project is a resource for players getting into the world of Hard SF space travel. What The Pumpkin Suit's Handbook is about Unlike soft SF, which draws a lot of it's spaceflight inspiration from modern naval tradition and a huge amount from WWII, Hard SF gets its impetus from the real worlds of physics and the historical precedents of NASA, Roscosmos, Jaxa, ESA, et al. This is the world of hard evidence, gained through fifty years of manned space missions. From Yuri Gagarin's risk-taking flight to answer whether or not human could survive in space at all, to the heroic efforts on the part of Gene Kranz's Tiger Team during Apollo 13, to the loss of two Space Shuttles and the success of the ISS, each mission into the black has given us the knowledge of what it would take to survive, function and thrive in the most hostile of environments, space. Thing is, unless you're addicted to documentaries, you may not know just what they do up there. For example, how does a Command Module execute an orbital rendezvous? What does it take to accomplish a space walk? If there is a fire in free-fall, can you even see it? For those of us gamers who really want to embrace the Hard SF experience, these are important questions. The Pumpkin Suit's Handbook would be an attempt to answer them. How would The Pumpkin Suit's Handbook be set up? This is all in the very early planning stages, so bear with me. I'm currently thinking about dividing this guide into several chapters. There would be a chapter on Player Characters which would give several rules options for making effective astronauts for the game, including Story Traits that account for personality. Personality combinations are extremely important when planning a space mission, and every gamer knows that personality conflict can but an entire campaign at risk. Just what do you roll for that? Another chapter would cover space procedures, such as the aforementioned orbital rendezvous and such. These entries would explain the procedure, so the GM can give effective descriptions during play, and include rules for running the maneuver, with difficulties, consequences for failed Skill Checks and so on. There would also be a section on "Damage Control" which would give stats and descriptions of the many disasters that befall space travelers. Things like debris strikes and decompression, patching the hull, fires, smoke, and so on. These entries would of course have stats for the GM as well as recommendations for what Skill Checks should be performed. There should also be a Chapter about human factors; not just personality conflicts, but disease and illness, injury, and psychological problems having to do with isolation and the monotony of life in space. Is The Pumpkin Suit's Handbook something you want? What do think RocketFans? It this kind of supplement, an index of Hard SF elements in game play, something you are interested in. One of the advantages of such a supplement would be that it is not setting specific; physics is physics, and any Hard SF campaign would benefit with a breakdown of just what's involved in the real world of space travel.
  2. [ATTACH=CONFIG]73[/ATTACH] "Started as the mad dream of billionaire philanthropist Walter Hopkins, The Destiny Foundation is credited for sending more civilians into orbit than any other agency in the history of spaceflight. Faced with such success and heedless to the warnings that the asteroid mining bubble was reaching critical mass, Hopkins ordered the development of a new kind of vehicle, one that would not only cut the costs of reaching orbit, but give families and private persons the capacity to travel space in their own private craft. While Hopkins did not live long enough to see his “everyman rocket” reach its potential, what would become the CASSTOR Launch Vehicle would find a vital niche in the future of the Black Desert Hopkins helped create."
  3. Due to the banes of rural living, I've been offline for the last two and a half months. It took getting satellite Internet in order for us to get back on the Web here in southern Alabama, but we are finally back in business. Updates on all of our products will commence forthwith, starting with our blog and moving on from there. Our next PDF (Ships of The Black Desert: The Vesperides) will be available for sale November 1st, and work continues on The Black Desert Core Rulebook. For those of you looking out for us, thanks for your attention. We will endeavor to make it worth the wait.
  4. To celebrate our tenth PDF, Blue Max Studios will be offering all of our titles for ten percent off for the next month (until May 16th). Even better, new customers can take advantage of our bundle offer...All ten of our PDFs for only ten dollars! That's only one dollar per spacecraft! We won't be offering a deal like this again, so order your fleet today!
  5. ...Seriously. The D6 system is fine for space/vehicle combat in Space Opera, Pulp Space, and other settings where the Rule of Cool is more important than the Laws of Physics. For hard sf...honestly, I'm not sure I can manage it. Not without roughly doubling the length of the rulebook. Another reason I am not thrilled with the idea of making hard sf space combat rules can be summed up in two words: Ken Burnside. Ad Astra Games' Attack Vector: Tactical is the definitive 3D space combat game and has become the gold standard by which all others are measured. Not only am I unsure that I could make something half as good, I don't really want to try. In my SW games back in the day, Space combat was always glossed over or ignored completely. In fact, the reason my wife (one of the best DMs I've ever seen) is loath to play sf games is that space combat does not interest her and most of the characters she wants to play have little to do when the blaster bolts fly in the Black. This got me thinking...even though I design spacecraft and they are an integral part of my Black Desert setting, do I need to make rules for space combat, with all the hex maps and other nonsense? I started to wonder if I could, maybe, have space combats fought in the Character Scale. Bear with me. I will explain. First of all, I have no problem with big space combats; I just never thought they worked well in a character-based RPG. They make for great board games, but in the context of an RPG I feel that they interrupt game flow and take away from the main focus - the Players. It's understandable; after all games like Star Wars wouldn't be complete if you couldn't take an X-Wing into a dogfight with a couple of TIEs. But in a hard sf game, combat in space is dangerous as hell. It's hard to manoeuvre, hard to stop, and you only have a few minute's worth of fuel. If you run out of fuel, you still keep on flying...right out of the Solar System. If you get hit, you're probably done for. I could do this in The Black Desert, because it is not a visualised setting. There are no movies or television series that I have to pay service to. I can describe space combat as it would truly be; too fast to react to and too deadly to ignore. Think about it, the part where the opposing rockets are in close range of one another is less than one average gaming round. In an eye blink, its all over. Even hard sf usually fudges a little here, as narrating an epic battle like this: “...the two opposing wings met and passed in less than a second, there was a flash of light, and (roll, roll) you're dead. Good game, everybody!” Is absolutely no fun for all of the Players whose dead characters didn't get to roll. In its proper place (like in AT:V), the milder version of Newtonian space combat is really fun. But one of the most frustrating experiences for a Player in an sf RPG campaign that I have observed is, like I said, to have their bad ass character that has almost no skill in pilot or repair, look on helplessly as the ship is blown out from under them and they cannot fight back. So, I thought it would be interesting to make a set of space combat rules that kept the focus of the action inside the spacecraft, where the characters are and give them things to do that have an important impact on their survival. Now, the quoted example above is lame, this is granted. However, if the focus is on the characters, then preceding that snippet are several dramatic scenes where characters can earn their XP by getting their spacecraft braced for battle. They will be struggling to get everything on their ship ready, optimising the engines and lasers, hoping that if the ship is hit their station is not in the section that decompresses and that kind of stuff. How is this different from other helpless situations? For one thing, everyone that performs successful actions increase the chances that the ship will survive. For another, since manoeuvrability is not a tactical consideration at these speeds and with these weapons, everyone is helpless. After the “flash of light”part, the fun really begins. All of the characters will have to struggle in a deadly melee combat with the hazards of space itself. The Pilot will have to try to change vector and find a course that lets them land the rocket before the fuel is used up, The Engineer will have to get the engines back on line, or shut down to prevent a meltdown, and everyone else will be performing Damage Control. You will have disabled systems, decompressed compartments, possible radiation zones, flooding, fires and any other dangerous (and high XP) condition a GM can imagine. Even better, all the desperate running from one disaster to another will be in zero gravity. Sure, it's not a chasing a squadron of Vulture Droids in and out of Star Destroyer formations, but it will be exciting. And a Player need never depend solely on the skill of the Pilot or the stats of their ship to survive. If this hasn't painted a sharp enough picture for you, don't worry. As the idea continues to evolve, I'll add details, mechanics, and scenarios from GM and Player perspectives. The main thing I want to know at this stage is: does this sound interesting to you? Do you want to know more? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your replies! RocketDad
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